Claro Latin Pro Costa Rica
Roca Loca, Puntarenas Costa Rica
29 - 30 August
Claro Latin Pro event rolls through Roca Loca lineup
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 1 September, 2015 - With an unusually light schedule for this year’s Latin Pro, the Association of Latin American Professional Surfers (ALAS) was fortunate that Diego Naranjo stepped in to secure two Costa Rica stops on the association’s competitive circuit.
ALAS, founded in 1998 by the El Salvador Surfing Association in order to promote surfing among young people in Latin America, has found difficult financial footing this year. As a result, it has only put up three events so far this season when typically six or seven would have taken place. Naranjo and the Jacó Surf Association were able to find the sponsors for contests here, the first of which took place this past weekend.
On Sunday, at the completion of the Claro Latin Pro Costa Rica event in Roca Loca – located between Jacó and Hermosa in the Central Pacific – the Ticos got a chance to show their superior surfing talents to participants who came from all over Latin America to add valuable points to the ALAS leaderboard.
Roca Loca also cooperated by offering spectacular, big waves coming off a weekend swell. The Ticos, many of whom already knew the break, stole the show at what Naranjo described as a “natural amphitheater.” Judges, tents and parking were on the cliff, while the surfers had to walk down the hill to reach the water.
Women's event winner Leilani McGonagle © ALAS
From excellent sight lines along the cliff, attendees watched Gilbert Brown, a Puerto Viejo native who’s made Jacó his home for the past few years, win the Open competition in his ALAS debut performance. Well-suited for these particular waves, Brown knocked out the ALAS ranking leader Sebastián Alarcón of Peru who came in second place. Esterillos dynamo Carlos Muñoz was third, followed by Argentina’s Martin Passari in fourth.
On the women’s side, Leilani McGonagle of Pavones added another accolade to her packed résumé, taking the Women’s Open trophy on Sunday. Costa Rica had a full house in this category, even acing out of the finals Peru’s Carolina Thun, who currently holds the ALAS Women’s top ranking. Following McGonagle’s lead was Jacó’s Emily Gussoni and Lisbeth Vindes, who placed second and third, respectively, with Tamarindo’s Zulay Martínez taking fourth. Both Gussoni and Martínez are new to ALAS competition as well as to Roca Loca.